I have to disclose upfront that I was a huge Walton
(the CBS hit run of eight years, based on the novel The Homecoming
Earl Hammer Jr.), and thus found myself drawn to the main character of
17-year-old Jim Glass, who reminds me so much of John-Boy. So much did I
enjoy The Blue Star
, that on finishing it I ran to the nearest library to
take out Jim the Boy
, Tony Earley's earlier book, so I could know this
young man as a ten-year old. I was not disappointed.
I also wanted more of the bachelor uncles' wit and wisdom. Uncles Zeno, Al and
Coran have helped Jim's mother raise him since his father died the week before
he was born. They dispense "tough love" on Jim long before it became a
fashionable term, molding this young man into a decent and responsible adult.
It is a credit to Earley's writing that glimmers of the...
Beyond the Book
Back in the early '90s I owned a bookstore and often heard parents bemoan the
lack of good books for young boys. Had Mr. Earley's books been in print at
the time, I would have been hand-selling them like hotcakes to adults and teens,
both boys and girls. Now, almost two decades later, I'm going to be sure
my grandchildren read Mr Earley's books.
Teenage Boys and Reading: Did you know?
In 2005, The Washington Post published an article titled "Why
Johnny Won't Read" that explored a worrisome trend:
"From 1992 to 2002, the gender gap in reading by young adults widened
considerably. In overall book reading, young women slipped from 63 percent to 59
percent, while young men plummeted from 55 percent to 43...